SEO Tip #131: Why are Some of Google’s Products Not Available Outside the US?

Matt Cutts: I’m absolutely sympathetic to this. The fact is I think Google has one of the most internationalized websites in the world. We’re available in something like 100 different languages. But trying to be available in every language in every country and every market is really, really hard.

Sometimes there are data signals or sources that you can’t easily find in other countries. Sometimes certification or laws or copyrights can make things more complicated so Google eBooks, releasing a new phone, all these kinds of things Google Voice, they can be really tricky to get right because every single country is different.

While we want absolutely be in as many countries as possible sometimes those things can be really hard to figure out exactly what certifications do you need, how do you get the relevant copyright agencies involved so that they know things are in the right shape. So you know when it’s just building webpages or building simple products we’re relatively good about that but I would certainly agree that we could pay a lot more attention to even try and not be US centric in our web posts.

Whenever we were looking at feedback we were finding that we were getting feedback a lot more about English than other languages and so we are trying to look a little deeper to find feedback to improve our search quality in other languages as well.

So we do put a lot of work into trying to be international. Over half of our traffic comes from outside the United States; well over half in fact. But none the less it is in many cases tricky because you know if you’re trying to do something like Google transit or things to find public transportation a lot of the time it involves a lot of cycles where individual engineers and individual offices have to figure out, how am I going to get that subway schedule? How can I figure out where that source of data is available? And sometimes is just takes a lot of time and work and effort.

We definitely want to internationalize as much as we can so thanks for that question and definitely keep poking us so we can get better at it over time as well.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.